The Aberdeen (Scotland) city council has taken delivery of four of the 10 hydrogen buses ordered from Belgian firm Van Hool and to be operated by FirstGroup and Stagecoach as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. The others are due to be delivered in the coming weeks; in total, the 10 will represent the largest single operating hydrogen bus fleet. Ballard Power Systems is developing the hydrogen fuel cells for the buses.
The £19-million (US$31 million) Aberdeen City Council-led bus project, which has backing from Europe, the UK Government and the Scottish Government, as well as a broad range of private sector partners, is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.
Part of the effort includes delivering a hydrogen infrastructure in Aberdeen in 2014. This will include the production of hydrogen from a 1MW electrolyzer utilizing renewable power and establishing a hydrogen refueling station—Scotland’s first commercial-scale hydrogen refueling station that will include hydrogen production through electrolysis, in partnership with BOC.
|Drawing of one of the hydrogen buses. Source: Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. Click to enlarge.|
The arrival of the buses has been planned in advance of the hydrogen production and re-fueling facility completion to ensure driver training, technician training and other operational planning can be completed prior to passenger operations commencing.
We will have the world’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses running on the Aberdeen’s streets, which will help us to not only realize our aspiration of becoming a world-leading city for low carbon technology, but also of maintaining our position as a leading world energy city.
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a few years in the making now, but this is the first visible step in a very important demonstration project which will help to inform the growth and development of hydrogen technologies and the hydrogen industry, as well as a strong hydrogen economy in Aberdeen.—Council leader Barney Crockett
The buses will be officially launched at the All-Energy conference which takes place in Aberdeen on 21 and 22 May. The buses, which will be integrated into First and Stagecoach operations from May, following an official launch at All-Energy, will be in use on routes across the city by autumn.
The vehicles will be refueled at the council’s Kittybrewster depot. Further refueling stations are proposed across the city as the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project evolves.
The bus project is part of the Aberdeen hydrogen project H2 Aberdeen, which provides the opportunity to create a new industry and greater choice in energy production and usage, as well as enabling the development of a hydrogen strategy for the Energetica Development Corridor.
It is also part of the HyTrEc (Hydrogen Transport Economy) transnational project which involves: working with EU partners around North Sea to facilitate transnational co-operation and learning; enhancing the competitiveness of the North Sea Region in hydrogen development; and providing a platform for joined-up working towards a hydrogen strategy across the North Sea region.
The Scottish Government has committed to largely decarbonize the road transport sector by 2050, with substantial progress to be made by 2030. To achieve this challenging target, the contribution of a range of low carbon vehicle technologies will be required with hydrogen fuel cell powered electric vehicles likely to be an important part of Scotland's future sustainable transport system.—Transport Minister Keith Brown
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project partners are: Aberdeen City Council; Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG); the Scottish Government; Scottish Enterprise; Technology Strategy Board; Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution; BOC; Van Hool; First; Stagecoach; Scotland Gas Networks; and Element Energy.